Spitfire L1059

Hillhead Farm, Slamannan, Falkirk

 
     
 
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Aircraft Type Photo

 

BELOW: K9795, the 9th production Mk I Supermarine Spitfire, with 19 Squadron Royal Air Force, showing the wooden, two-blade, fixed-pitch propeller, early 'unblown' canopy and 'wraparound' windscreen without the bulletproof glass plate. The original style of aerial mast is also fitted. [Wikipedia]

 

Spitfire Mark 1

 

Photo: 1938 RAF official photographer.

 

HMSO has declared that the expiry of Crown Copyrights applies worldwide. (Ref: HMSO Email Reply). More information.

 


 

BELOW: A later variant of the Spitfire. This is a Supermarine Spitfire XVI at Duxford, in September 2006.

 

spitfire mk xvi at duxford in september 2006

 

Photo: 2006 Taken by Chowells, Noise reduction and shadows lifted by Diliff. Original image here

 

Licensed for use under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.5

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Type and Background

 

RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk IA / L1059

 


 

Aircraft Type Nickname: "The Spit".


Designed by R J Mitchell, the elliptical-winged Supermarine Spitfire was one of the most capable and effective fighters of WWII. It was produced in a number of variants, and with different power plants and armaments. The Spitfire was considered a high performing, agile and stable fighter platform. Ultimately, 20,000 Spitfires and Sea Spitfires (or 'Seafires'; the naval variant) were produced.

The Spitfire first entered service with the RAF at Duxford in August, 1938, and many subsequent variants were produced.

During the Battle of Britain, Mk I Spitfires were outnumbered by Hawker Hurricanes. Nevertheless, the Spitfires were usually considered as the most deadly aircraft in the skies above Britain.

Early versions of the Spitfire (Mark I) were equipped with a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. (Griffon engines were fitted to later Marks.)

 


 

BELOW: RAF Spitfires in flight

 

raf spitfires in flight

 

Photo: As a work of the U.S. Federal Government, the image is in the public domain.

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Historical Background and Accident Details                      

 

(The information / photos in the following Panels was kindly provided by Alan Leishman)

 


 

  • Spitfire L1059 Mk.1A was delivered by Supermarine, Woolston between June and September 1939.

  •  

  • It first flew on 14.7.39 and was delivered to 603 Sqn, on 16.9.39.

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  • It crashed onto L1047 whilst landing at Grangemouth.

  •  

  • It arrived at 266 Sqn. on 4.6.40 and struck a building on landing at Wittering on 9.8.40.

  •  

  • It arrived at 58 OTU on 29.1.41.

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  • The aircraft dived into ground at Hillhead Farm, Slamannan on the 14th of February 1941 killing the pilot.

  •  

  • The aircraft was destroyed by fire.

  •  

  • The aircraft was based at RAF Grangemouth with 58 OTU (Operational Training Unit).

 

 

Eyewitness Report

 

'On 14 February 1941 Charlie Whyte was working at the pithead at Oakerdykes when he heard a Spitfire circling low overhead. The sky was overcast and there was a low mist. He was in the Observer Corps and his training enabled him to identify the plane. It was not hard to tell from the noise that it was in trouble, as the engine was clearly back-firing.

 

At 10.50am several people in the nearby village of Slamannan heard the plane scream in its rapid descent. It impacted the ground near the farm buildings at Hillhead, not far from the Observer Post and only the tail was left sticking out. The ammunition went off in every direction and there was a terrific noise.

 

Charlie Finlay was out in one of the fields ploughing with two horses. It was with considerable effort that he was able to hold them back. The plane had caught fire and the auxiliary fire brigade from Slamannan rushed to the scene, only to find that they had left their hoses behind.

 

Later that day the RAF came and extricated the body of Sgt J Silvester. A guard in the field kept everyone back on the Pirnie Lodge Road and only after the wreckage had been cleared away was it possible to see the large hole in the park itself. Between them, the villagers gleaned all traces of the plane from the field.' (via Geoff Bailey)

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Pilot Information

 

The pilot who died in this accident was:

  • Sgt John Tristram Silvester (22), 956162, Pilot, RAFVR, from Stourport-on-Severn.
    (Buried: Ombersley (St. Andrew), Worcester.)

 

 

(Please click on the hyperlinked name above for further details at the Commonwealth War Grave Commission's website.)

 

 

 

BELOW: John Silvester.

 

john silvester

 

Photo: Andrew Long via Alan Thomson.

 

 

 

 

 

Recovery and Memorial Service Photos

 

BELOW: Smaller items recovered.

 

small items recovered from crash site.

 

Photo: A Leishman.

 


 

BELOW: Preparing to lift the propeller.

 

preparing to lift the propeller.

 

Photo: Stevie Spink.

 


 

On the 16th of August 2014 members of the Silvester family attended a service involving the unveiling of a memorial to John Silvester at Slamannan. The event was organised by Dumfries and Galloway Museum member Stevie Spink.

 

BELOW: Memorial using the recovered prop.

 

memorial using recovered prop.

 

Photo: Gordon Smith.

 


 

BELOW: Memorial plaque.

 

memorial plaque.

 

Photo: Gordon Smith.

 


 

BELOW: Presentation of pilots goggles, found at the crash site, by Alan Leishman to John Silvester's family.

 

presentation of recovered goggles to john silvester's family.

 

Photo: Gordon Smith.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Crash Date / Site

 

 

Accident Date: 14 Feb 1941

 

Accident Site:

Hillhead Farm, Slamannan

 

Region: Falkirk

 

Nearest town or village:

Slamannan (W)

 

Nearest large town:

Falkirk or Cumbernauld.

 

OS Grid Ref: N/A

 

GPS Ref. N/A

 

Present Condition: Recovered from site. Some small parts at Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum (see photos below).

 

 

 

Aircraft Details

 

 

Registration or Serial: L1059

 

Operator:  RAF (58 OTU)

 

Operating Station: RAF Grangemouth

 

Station Location: Grangemouth, Falkirk / East Stirlingshire.

 

Current Station Status:

Closed 1955. Reverted to Grangemouth Refinery (Ineos).

 

 

 

Related Links

 

RAF and Related Links

58 OTU

58 OTU Memorial

RAF Grangemouth at Control Towers.co.uk

 

Other Link

The Supermarine Spitfire at Wikipedia

 

 

 

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